As winter comes to an end, it’s important to remember that warmer weather brings a different set of difficulties and dangers for people experiencing homelessness.
Spring is an exciting time, especially for anyone living in a colder climate. The days get longer and you can walk out outside without immediately freezing. A common misconception is that spring means the lives of people experiencing homelessness gets easier too. They can sleep outside, warming shelters are unnecessary, and they can make do without coats. These things, unfortunately, do not make homelessness easier. People in this position need our support just as much during warmer seasons as they do during winter.
Imagine carrying all of your belongings with you. In the heat, that burden becomes more difficult to deal with. Sweat means that you need more changes of clothes and hygiene products and dehydration becomes more prevalent. Warming centers are incredibly important, but places to shower and cool off when it’s hot are also essential.
This spring, keep all this in mind the next time you see someone visibly homeless. Consider putting together care kits of socks, sanitary products, snacks and water. You can donate them to shelters or carry it with you to give to the next person who needs it. This small act could make a big difference for people who are not as excited about the warm weather as you.
Other items shelters need year-round:
- Toothpaste/tooth brushes
- Feminine products
- Wet wipes
- Chewable multivitamins
- Toilet paper
- First aid kits
Visit the websites of your local shelters, or give them a call, to find out what they’re short on this season.
If you or a young person you know is in crisis, our trained crisis services team is available on our hotline and online services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with free, confidential support at 1-800-RUNAWAY or 1800RUNAWAY.org.
Also, by supporting the National Runaway Safeline you ensure that youth in crisis are just a call or chat away from connecting to the services they need. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation today.